Mastery-approach goals eliminate retrieval-induced forgetting: the role of achievement goals in memory inhibition.

Research paper by Kenji K Ikeda, Alan D AD Castel, Kou K Murayama

Indexed on: 11 Mar '15Published on: 11 Mar '15Published in: Personality & social psychology bulletin


The present study examined how achievement goals affect retrieval-induced forgetting. Researchers have suggested that mastery-approach goals (i.e., developing one's own competence) promote a relational encoding, whereas performance-approach goals (i.e., demonstrating one's ability in comparison with others) promote item-specific encoding. These different encoding processes may affect the degree to which participants integrate the exemplars within a category and, as a result, we expected that retrieval-induced forgetting may be reduced or eliminated under mastery-approach goals. Three experiments were conducted using a retrieval-practice paradigm with different stimuli, where participants' achievement goals were manipulated through brief written instructions. A meta-analysis that synthesized the results of the three experiments showed that retrieval-induced forgetting was not statistically significant in the mastery-approach goal condition, whereas it was statistically significant in the performance-approach goal condition. These results suggest that mastery-approach goals eliminate retrieval-induced forgetting, but performance-approach goals do not, demonstrating that motivation factors can influence inhibition and forgetting.